Welcome to Veliko Tarnovo

Welcome to Veliko Tarnovo – the old capital of Bulgaria. The town of Tarnovo with its unique fortress Tsarevets was the spiritual and cultural centre of Bulgarian during the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. Among the unapproachable rocks and pinnacles, surrounded by the hills Trapezitsa, Sveta gora and Tsarevets, the town of Veliko Tarnovo combines history themselves, present and future together. Strolling along the narrow streets in the ancient town, we can enjoy the houses, strangely perched one over another, the small workshops on the Samovodska charshia, the houses of the Bulgarian national revival on Gurko Street. The monuments, a symbol of our violent and heroic past, are scattered all over the town – the monument of the Horsemen, raising their swords above all, the monument of Mother Bulgaria, the memorial of the Hung men, also the monuments of Vasil Levski and Velchova zavera, as well as Stefan Stambolov’s Memorial and many others. Here we can bow down to the genius of constructors such as the master Kolyo Ficheto which architectural masterpieces (the church… , the House with the monkey, the Khan of Hadji Hikoli and so on) remain as an eternal token of the Bulgarian greatness. Lots of churches and monasteries contribute to the spiritual life in the old capital. One of the most famous among them is the church “Forty Holy Martyrs” where the king Ferdinand declared the Independence of Bulgaria in 1908. National Gallery Boris DenevThere are a big variety of galleries available for the art connoisseurs (The National Gallery “Boris Denev”, The Exhibition Halls “R. Mihailov”), as well as the unique art-shops and private galleries. A few museums are open for visiting – the Museum Constituent Assembly, the Prison Museum, The Sarafkina House – all of them as seats of culture and spirituality. Among the huge fund of books in the National Library “P. R. Slaveikov” one can find curious and little known legends of Veliko Tarnovo. In the Public Record Office you can learn about the great benefactors of the town, as well as some interesting historical facts. To feel the town at shorter range you should visit the numerous shops, supermarkets and trade centres, more important among them are Centrall Mall Veliko Tarnovo, Praktiker, Technopolis, Technomarket, CBA, Billa, Densi, Iskra Trade Centre, Europe Trade Centre. Also you can watch a movmonument of the Horsemenie at the Arena cinema, to play bowling or simply to maunder about. Do not miss a walk to the lovely village-reserve of Arbanassi, where unique panoramic views reveal towards Veliko Tarnovo and the mountain Stara planina.
After you have sated your cultural and spiritual hunger, done your shopping and gone sightseeing, you can have a bite with relish at some of the restaurants, taverns and pizza places in the town. You can pop in some of the typical beer-houses or night-clubs to take a drink. In the evenings you should visit the discos and clubs and then to spend an unforgettable night at one of the numerous hotels, hostels and guest houses. Do not forget about the most important night miracle – the matchless audio and visual performance “Tsarevets – Sound and Light”, a dramatic luminous and acoustic experience of the historical development of Bulgaria. And this is only a fraction of the Veliko Tarnovo magic – come and have a look.   

Veliko Tarnovo - The Old Capital
Veliko Tarnovo is one of the most ancient Bulgarian towns. The picturesque situation and panoramic view of the town, its centuries-old history and culture, its rich cultural and historical heritage wins Veliko Tarnovo the recognition as a historical, cultural and tourist centre of contemporary Bulgaria.
The town was founded at the foot of the Northern Fore-Balkan Range. Historians date it back to the 4th millennium B. C. The town of Veliko Tarnovo had inherited centuries-old Prehistoric, Thracian and Antique culture and in 1185 it became a centre of the Bulgarian Uprising against Byzantine domination and the capital of the restored Bulgarian state. The mVeliko Tarnovoedieval town of Tarnovo was rapidly expanding and developed into the strongest Bulgarian fortress during the 12-14th cc. It became the most significant, political, economic, cultural and religious centre of Bulgaria. The Tarnovo Schools of Literature and Arts were established and developed here. Remarkable architectural monuments were created; miniature and monumental painting, literature, plastic arts and crafts achieved high artistic level.
During the 15th-19th centuries period Tarnovo was a symbol of the former Bulgarian state system and stronghold of the Bulgarian national spirit, a leading centre of the struggle for national liberation, for religious and for cultural independence. During the Bulgarian National Revival period in the second half of the 18th and the 19th centuries the town was an important administrative, trade and industrial centre. The rapid economic boom was set as a favorable premise for a dynamic cultural and educational process. Unique monuments of the material and spiritual culture were created.
After the Liberation from Ottoman domination in 1877 until the wars in 1912-1913 and in 1915-1918 as a historical capital Tarnovo played a significant role in the political, administrative and cultural formation of independent Bulgaria. In 1879 Bulgaria was restored for the second time. Then the Constituent Assembly drafted the supreme fundamental laws of the nation - The Tarnovska Constitution in the hall of the former Turkish konak. The 1st, the 3rd, the 4th, and the 5th Grand National Assemblies (in 1879, 1887, 1893 and 1911) were held in Veliko Tarnovo. Prince Alexander Batemberg was elected a head of the state by the First Grand National Assembly in 1879. Prince Ferdinand proclaimed the independence of the Bulgarian Kingdom exceptionally solemnly in 1908.
 Veliko Tarnovo is not the oldest Bulgarian town, but no doubt, according to foreigners’ and Bulgarians’ confessions it is the most Bulgarian town! Town, whose spirit represents Bulgaria and its deep roots and its way to the future. Seven thousand year of history have been stored within the hills, embraced by the magnificent meanders of the Yantra River.
The preserved remains of the fortresses, palaces, and churches are speechless witnesses of the acme of the Bulgarian culture in XII-XIV century. Here every stone speaks of the heroic path of the Bulgarian people during the centuries – of the liberating revolt in 1185 against Byzantium, of the famous battle at Adrianopol in 1205 and the capture of the emperor of the Latin Empire Baldwin of Flander, of the glorious victory at Klokotnitsa, of the official entering of the victor Ivailo in Veliko Tarnovo in 1278. Every stone of Tsarevets and Trapezitsa reminds of the epic battles for defending the capital and the Bulgarian state in 1393 from the Ottoman conquerors. The ruins are evidence of the brutal attitude to the defenders and the barbaric devastation of the cultural monuments by the oppressors.
Veliko Tarnovo is a town which grabs the visitor at the first sight with its unique location as if it has been dumped on the steep hills by the fantastic curves of Yantra decorated by the lace rock wreath. It arouses rapture and enchants every visitor mostly with its houses – light, perching one over another, huddled together, as if the nature has defined for every house a definite place and form. This is a town that impresses and influences with its original, unique, and specific Renaissance culture. It gives a unique impression that is incomparable to anything.
For poets, scientists, and travelers Veliko Tarnovo is a place where nature was extremely generous and did not spare forms and hues. Here there are masterpieces of Kolyo Ficheto from the time of the Bulgarian Renaissance.
Today every visitor in Veliko Tarnovo remains enchanted by the beauty and grandeur of the town, by its landmarks, by the atmosphere that combines past and present and turns Tarnovo in an attractive place. A place where one can see cobblestone streets and modern transport centers, scenic old houses and modern buildings, young students having fun and old women sitting and chatting in the evening on Gurko Street.
                Veliko Tarnovo becomes more and more attractive town for tourists from Bulgaria and abroad and also for a significant number of investors who find in Tarnovo their necessary resources and infrastructure. With every year the tendency for the town to turn in one of the most visited towns in Southern Europe increases. This will additionally contribute for its turning into a real European town – a town opened to the future and the innovations but retained its individuality and history.